Shadow: Poem & Journal


Once small,
this gray shadow grows larger,
exponentially rising, becoming overbearing,
darkens to the dullest black –
flat, yet overwhelming
like a suffocating vine
sprouting from a drained ground,
coiled to choke
the life
from lungs
as I rasp against the onslaught
of dread and doom.

The days of the shadow self
existing light and airy are
no more.

Now, I must wage this
war against the weight that
heaps heavens high.

Must win.
Must win.

The shadow must not become tangible,
lest I die.

The Meaning of This Poem
I have found it immensely painful how in the moment of my spiritual re-awakening, I have been forced to confront a distinct lack of time. This poem, “Shadow,” describes the way I am struggling. The shadow is the pressure of the world – the fact that I am an intern, a teacher, and a grad student. Every week, I have three 14-hour days, one 15 hour day, a constantly in flux Friday, and weekends filled with grading papers, writing papers, and being a step mom.
“How do you manage?” people ask me all the time. “I don’t know,” I say, and I don’t. My sense of myself slips and is waning. I am becoming my work, my internship, my papers. But, I don’t want that. I am not a person that lives for work. I am a person that lives to experience, to paint, to write, to play.
I’m struggling. I’m lost and I barely know how to survive.
I know that if one more person says, “Take a vacation,” or, “Just put things off for a bit,” or, “It’ll be over soon,” I don’t know what I’ll do. I can’t take those words of misunderstanding. In January, my load grows heavier with my internship hours tripling.  If I want to finish this degree, it’s not like I can take a vacation. If I want to take a break from one job (teaching), I can’t also take a break from the internship because in order to keep it, I cannot miss time.
I’m locked in a chess game I can’t “win” right now. I can just keep drawing out each hand and try to somehow keep life from checkmating me.
I am normally the most positive person in the world, but this weight is quite heavy. It’s so heavy that my back might break with it.
Perhaps a ritual is in order. Perhaps I need magic to aid me. I certainly don’t feel like I have any time for magic, but I suppose I’ll have to figure it out.

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